'This Week' Transcript: Kaine and Steele

TAPPER: And you also -- you were in Vietnam covering the war for ABC News, not as a soldier. What's your take on Blumenthal? It seems to me -- look, this is a different era than mine, but people are usually pretty careful about how they talk about their service.

DONALDSON: That's right. I was in the service for two-and-a-half years on active duty. We had no war, had a good time. I served briefly as a correspondent in Vietnam. That was a war. Didn't have a good time there; no one did.

I don't know what got into Blumenthal. As attorney general for 20 years, great record, both parties. This -- he didn't have to tell an untruth to try to get more votes.

I suspect what happened -- and I've seen the analysis which was inside him. You know, he was sorry that he hadn't served. He's trying to compensate. You start telling something, and at first you tell it right, and then you sort of slip in -- well, I can just tell it a little looser, and you tell it even looser than that, and, wham, it made it cost him the opportunity to serve.

TAPPER: Donna, you're a Democratic strategist. If he came to you and said, "What do I do?" what would you tell him?

BRAZILE: Well, first of all, he apologized, and he should continue to apologize, but he needs to get this burden off his back and get back to talking to voters about the real issues. The longer he talks about this and the more tapes and the more, you know, well, on this occasion, I said it this time, I didn't say it this time.

Voters don't care about that. They care about their jobs, their health care, their way of life. Mr. Blumenthal has an incredible record of public service, but if he can't talk about the issues, voters will remember this mistake.

ROBERTS: If I were a Democratic strategist, I'd tell him to get out of the race.

TAPPER: Just out?

ROBERTS: Out, because I think that -- again, it's not a year for phonies. And -- and people are going to hold this against him.

DONALDSON: They will hold it against him, but don't get out. I mean, I agree with Donna. I mean, fight back. You're going to lose, maybe, because of that. But which one of us hasn't exaggerated...

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: ... if you ran -- if you ran the Democratic Party, OK, if you can -- if you can play along with me...

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: If you were Tim Kaine, if you were Tim Kaine, what would you be doing right now?

WILL: I'd be trying to get him out. Sam, look, it's all very well to embed this statement about Vietnam in some generational trauma. How do you explain the fact that he evidently told the Hartford Courant that he was the captain of a Harvard swim team when he was never on the swim team? How do you explain the fact that he goes on "Morning Joe," on MSNBC, and says, "I have never taken PAC money," when he really meant in previous campaigns, because in this campaign, evidently, he's taken $220,000 of PAC money. This is a serial problem.

DONALDSON: I agree with you. It's a very serious mistake, and it's more than a mistake, perhaps, but I think the voters should say, "All right. We'll make a decision about this," because balanced against -- that is the rest of his record. And I'm not saying, other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how do you like the play?

WILL: I don't run the Democratic Party, and I hope he stays in there.

BRAZILE: And I hope Linda McMahon is the Republican candidate, because it will be...

(CROSSTALK)

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